Kashmir Narrator welcomes you on board. We are taking a small step. Towards you. Towards some serious journalism. We are not promising any path breaking journalism though. Nor is this magazine a terms-and-conditions publication set by those who draw illicit power from Kashmir’s multiple political and security faultlines, some of which stretch across the border.
We are bringing Kashmir Narrator to you in an atmosphere where the trivial and superficial pass for journalistic content. Serious and reflective journalism has long been put in the mortuary. In-depth reporting and critical analyses are considered dead ducks no reader is interested in. The overall security scenario further limits the possibilities of practising the profession with the degree of honesty and independence the profession demands. This is the general picture.
Despite all this, there is some good journalism being done here and there. Kashmir has over the years produced some of the finest print and television journalists and photographers. But journalism in Kashmir has failed to exhibit a professional vibrancy that it usually is associated with. This, despite five training departments in the Valley and hundreds of publications where young journalists can whet their skills.
Kashmir Narrator is not promising to change that. We cannot. One publication can’t. There are several magazines being published from Srinagar. Several more are coming up if the powers-that-be deem fit to grant them the requisite clearance. In fact, that’s another grave issue damaging the journalistic ethos of Kashmir. Obviously, not an issue for this editorial to debate. We would love to have some solid competition from other players.
But out of all this good, bad and ugly picture, somebody back in the day put up his arms and cried over the roof top: the serious reader is dead. Almost everyone followed the lead. That became an easy way of practising the trade far removed from the hardcore shoe-leather journalism of previous decades and the rigours of professional conduct it imposed.
And so began the demise of serious, contemplative and incisive journalism.
But the serious reader is not dead. He is alive and kicking. Numbers of such readers have actually grown exponentially. Such readers have migrated to the internet platform in search of quality writing. This, precisely because media houses in Kashmir did not give them quality writing they were looking for. In the process, they also become very intelligent to tell substandard writing from the substantive. And contrary to a misplaced popular belief, social media have neither swallowed our readers nor are they an impediment in reading. In fact, social media are the most potent tool of marketing and displaying your content. They represent force multipliers for any publication’s content. It’s just another way of doing journalism.
Dear readers, have a look at what is inside this magazine. You’ll find it refreshing. Of course, with all its flaws.
Long time ago, somebody said: A good newspaper is like a nation talking to itself. Keep on sending us your comments so that we can talk to—the nation.
Wish us luck.